Friday, June 24, 2011

Finally the RR....

So, to the actual LONG LONG report. Part of me would like to just sweep this under the rug and talk about how I should get my hair cut instead, but here goes:

To my unspoken goals....
A goal: 3:14:59
B goal: PR-3:18:36
C goal: get my ass to Boston
Actual time: 3:20:16


*traveled overnight on Friday to Duluth from Ryan's hockey tournament. We were prepared to sleep in the car (due to my cheapness and my unwillingness to pay $400 for a 2 night required hotel stay when I only needed 3 hours). An unexpected act of kindness from some hockey parents on the opposing team Friday night and a leap of faith outside of my comfort zone found me sleeping in the house of a COMPLETE stranger ONE block from the shuttle pickup! SINGLE GREATEST WEEKEND BLESSING!

*Woke up race morning after 2 and a half solid hours of sleep not feeling too hot-bloated! HEIGHT of PMS since for the one time in like FOREVER my clockwork cycle decided to fail me-TMI....I did however feel mentally ready to run! I was EXCITED, a little nervous, but confident! It was RAINING HARD, the air was still humid/thick, and windy but NOT sweltering hot like I initially feared!! Reminded myself that rain was better than blazing sun!!!! I was apparently the ONLY unprepared marathoner waiting for the shuttle as I had no garbage bag over me, no bags on my race shoes which I was wearing (Everyone else had their race shoes in their check bags) Fortunately, I had on a lightweight jacket that kept my shirt pretty dry but by the time I got on the bus, my shoes were soaked and I was WET! The bus ride was good! I was super annoying Chatty Cathy and I'm pretty sure everyone just wanted me to shutup.... Reminded me so much of Boston since Grandma's is also a point to point course!! The bus arrived to the race start about 6 am. STILL raining and race didn't start until 7:30 am. I had an hour and a half to kill standing in the rain-no shelter.

*Adapt and Problem solve as Ana Maria says!!!! There were no lines for the port o potties being I was on one of the first buses. They were clean and unused. I set up shop in one and hung out protected from the rain reading blogs on my phone and thinking of AM starting her race! By the time I finally came out, the rain was stopped and all in all the weather was much more desirable. Not ideal by any means with the humidity in the air but actually quite unexpectedly cool and much more desirable!!!

*Checked my bag and made my way up the start corral to line up. After pushing through LOADS of people to get there, I realized I had checked my handheld water bottle in my bag which had some of my gels in the pocket. I generally take 5 in a marathon and drink TONS of water. I have a SYSTEM and I find COMFORT in it. I tried to make my way back to retrieve it and realized I would never make it. I had 2 Gu's with me still and started to plan a strategy for using them.


I lined up a bit in front of the 3:20 pacer. My unwritten secret plan was to run approximately a 1:39 first half and then bring up the pace for a 1:35-1:36 second half. I felt this was TOTALLY doable based on the course, my training paces, my races, and my history of running quite well progressively. I'm not the type to overestimate my abilities and I almost ALWAYS reach goals I set for myself.

To the best of my memory which may have failed me a bit here....
Miles 1-5

The gun went off and I started running. Planned to go out as relaxed as possible in the first mile and hopefully end up between 7:45 and 8:00. Clocked a 7:47 and it felt just right. First water stop at mile 3 where I downed two cups of it. Just before the 5 mile mark, I decided to take one of my 2 Gu's. My logic was that I could take one at 5, one at 10, this would bring me strong to 15 and I would try to drink Powerade (which I NEVER drink) to get me through. I was MORE afraid of crashing early and then mentally struggling and know that I process Gu much better before I feel that I need it. Felt very strong and easy through mile 5. Weather was not bothering me too much and I felt good. Weird feeling right at mile 5 after I had taken the Gu. My heart just started fluttering and breathing was all awkward for a few seconds but then it passed and I felt fine.

Miles 5-10

Slightly rolling course but by far the "easiest" course I've run. No monster climbs and about mile 8 or 9 you began running right along Lake Superior which is beautiful. I had another weird short yuck feeling around mile 7 but again it passed as quickly as it came. Took another Gu around the 9 mile water stop and subsequently ran a 7:12 mile 10. Dang this stuff works good for me!!! Things were feeling great

Miles 10-15.

Starting at mile 11, I stopped drinking water. I decided to try for Powerade only which was in retrospect not the best decision. I HATE these kinds of sportsdrinks (I rarely drink anything other than water and once in a blue moon Heed which is easier on my stomach). I tried to drink too much here I think. I crossed the half in 1:38:42 feeling great and just where I would have liked to be at this point. My husband surprised me at 14, I wasn't expecting to see him yet and I can see myself running over this bridge with a huge smile. At this point I think I really felt like this was going to be a good race and things would come together for me. As soon as I entertained this feeling I started feeling something not so awesome going on in my stomach. It didn't slow my pace too much but it was noticeable. I skipped water and powerade at 15.

Miles 15-20.

This is somewhat of a blur. I know I was starting to feel a bit yucky mainly in my stomach by around 16 or so but my pace wasn't suffering too much (wasn't increasing as I had hoped but not overly suffering) Started feeling like I could hold pace but maybe not have the super finish kick I planned...... I remember grabbing the course Clif Shot at mile 17. Again I skipped the Powerade stop because I thought I would take the gel instead. I hadn't drank anything since 13 and was now drenched in sweat. My stomach was churning and I thought I would try to make it until 18 before I took the gel. Somewhere around 18 I started opening it and dropped it. EVERY part of me wishes I had stopped to pick it up. Instead at the mile 19 water stop, I chugged TOO much Powerade trying to make sure I wouldn't fall apart. Still managed to run mile 19 in 7:19 but shortly after, a HUGE projectile fountain erupted all over the side of the road and I really started feeling terrible. I went from a 7:19 to a FULL stop and then a brief walk somewhere around mile 20 when I saw my husband on the side of the road. He offered me my other handheld but I couldn't take it. It was filled with Heed and even the word HEED made me gag. He came right on the course with me and told me I was on pace for a really good PR and to just bring in the last 6. He was saying stuff about how many texts he was getting from my family and friends etc. and how they were all cheering and I remember looking and telling him to call them and tell them I was FALLING APART. I felt positively AWFUL. When I started running again, my legs did NOT want to cooperate. They enjoyed stopping WAY too much.

Miles 20-26.2.

Honestly I don't have a bunch of memories here except it felt like I was running into a major headwind many of these miles. Kind of a blur of dry heaves, no drinking as I knew I couldn't handle it. I was forcing out my pace and then walking seconds later. Walk, run, gag, repeat. My legs felt rough. They felt heavy and drained and unlike they've ever felt in either of my previous marathons or EVER actually. I'm pretty sure this was "the wall" which I claim to have never experienced. There was a climb "Lemondrop Hill" at mile 22. Some tattooed guy slapped me on the back and we ran up the hill together. The downhill that followed POUNDED my quads. I have strong legs, I LOVE hilly courses, downhills have generally been AWESOME for me. This was NOTHING like the downhills in Boston (this was just short and easy) but I literally grabbed both of my legs with my hands running down this hill. Somewhere after mile 25 the 3:20 pacer passed me. He had lost his ENTIRE posse. Running completely solo as far as I could tell. I thought in retrospect that if I was a pacer and had lost my WHOLE group and saw a few strugglers (me and others) right on the 3:20 barrier that perhaps I would try to encourage them to run it in with him. NOPE. Didn't matter, I had nothing.


This is a fantastic course. Lightly rolling but most would consider it FLAT. Only one real hill at mile 22. I'm not sure flat courses play to my strengths....I believe I perform better with the muscle recovery of hills. Twin Cities is MUCH more rolling than Grandmas....

The course was extremely well organized. Very efficient with water, sponges, ice, etc. It truly is a beautiful course with a great atmosphere! I am ABSOLUTELY putting in for the half marathon here next year which is run on the back half of the course. The shirt and medal were really nice and I got a water bottle and bag as well!

*I spent a lot of time trying to process everything about this marathon. I don't feel my pacing was off at all, I do know I was having hydration and fueling issues. Even so, I just can't explain how I could feel SO awful late in the race. I've run this pace for LONG distances, I run higher mileage, I've run MULTIPLE 20's at a reasonably quick pace...There is NO doubt in my mind that my training is better, I'm faster, I'm stronger but yet on an EASIER course than Boston, I absolutely FOLDED. Furthermore, I can run a 22 mile in sub 8 and still be able to run the next day and experience little to no DOMS but 2 days later, I was struggling with stairs here. WTF!!! I need concrete answers! Ha ha! Sounds like I'm a schizo digging for reassurance. Not at all!!!!! I'm pretty sure these are just normal processings of a competitive mind. I'm really not upset. I can run a 3:20 marathon even feeling like SHIT and I need to be proud of that!!!

*For the record, I'm not about excuses.....Things could have gone PERFECTLY for me and I would have experienced the same issues. I can speculate, I can wonder but I can't state that I could run any faster than 3:20 in ANY conditions until I've proven that in a race!

*I DO have some race pictures. Wow, does pride come into play here! Not sure ANY of these will make it to the blog-HA!

So, I've been completely separated from blogland for a few days. I came down with strep throat which resulted in a 102 degree fever and MANY hours on the couch. When I wasn't on the couch, I was still running my kids around and trying to get my ducks in a row. I've managed two short 4 mile runs the last two days and my legs are feeling fine.

Again, special Thankyou to the MANY people who encouraged and supported me before, during, after the race. Was so awesome to get my check bag and look at my phone and see all the texts and and emails and FB comments and well wishes! I felt the love BIG TIME!!!!

Back to the ramblings soon and I promise to make my rounds here! Been on a bit of a prescribed computer break and just now starting to catch up! Good luck to all those racing this weekend!!!


Allison said...

"I can run a 3:20 marathon even feeling like SHIT and I need to be proud of that!!!"

Best line ever! You SHOULD feel proud!! 3:20 even with projectile vomiting! You are a stud. Wow. Just wow.

Sounds like it was all your belly, KWIM? And what can you do with that? Big fat nothing but quit or ride it out. And you didn't quit!

FWIW, I've transitioned to just training now with water (and Nuun for long runs) and my stomach feels so much better. I used to be a straight Powerade/Cytomax girl but now I can really see the difference (I don't have to poop constantly. HA!). My coach (a 2:27 marathoner... now age 72 and ran Boston this past year in 3:29!!!) only trains on water and ONLY drinks the sports drink during his races (NO GUs). So maybe it was just the deadly combination of all that sugar from the Powerade and GUs??

Anyway, you should really feel proud. Think how mentally tough you just made yourself. Next time you will absolutely KILL IT.

Allison said...

Oh, and my coach specifically told me that he takes "2 mouthfuls" of sports drink at EVERY aid station. That's it. Maybe you just had TOO much.

Amanda@runninghood said...

Okay, even though I know most of this already, you know I'm going to be sitting down with my wine tonight when I can and read through this like a favorite book! Can't wait to find some quiet time today! Thanks for really is just as much for us as it is for you....we learn so much from you! What a great learning experience here and fuel to your running fire for next time. I have no doubt....none that you are capable of that 3:14:59 and much faster even! You are amazing in every way Jenn! Love you! MOre later when my kids are not pulling at my leg.

Anonymous said...

The one thing we can never be prepared for is how our body responds on any given day. 3:20:00 is an awesome time!

Christina @ The Athletarian said...

You rocked it! Be proud of your time because it is AMAZING!

Julie said...

Hi Jenn! Holy shit!!! You are freaking amazing! So damn bummed that I did not stick around to watch the marathoners finish. I was cold, not feeling the greatest and just wanted a hot shower! You did so awesome...I am in awe of what an amazing athlete you are! So very proud of you! We are meeting at Twin Cities this year! We need to find a spot to meet before hand:) I will be finishing so far behind after you...looking for a sub 4 finish this year.

Congrats on a fantastic marathon finish girl! Big hugs for my super star Minnesota blogger friend!

Lisa @ Eat.Pray.Run. said...

Amazing. Really amazing. Being a person who currently has no intentions of running a marathon (let alone finishing one in such incredible time) and a person who hates puking more than anything (and would consider this cause for bagging a race), I was in complete awe as I read this. You are a runner on a completely different level than I am, but it makes me want to be better! You kicked some serious ass!!

Christie said...

Even with the unplanned circumstances you still ROCKED the race. You are an amazing runner and person... I love to read your posts.

ajh said...

Sorry this didn't go as planned. 3:20 is an awesome time esp. with how you were feeling.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

The DRIVE you have is simply AMAZING. Seriously, never say never, but I'm fairly certain, if I vomit, I'm done for the day. Wow!

As previously mentioned, the conditions on race day, and the tummy issues are NOT excuses. These are actual out of your control ISSUES that kept you from running at 100%. You still pulled it off, with an amazing day. YES, you should be proud, and I hope that you are PROUD by now. Congrats Jenn!

XLMIC said...

Cranking out a 3:20 while gagging and sputtering and staggering is no small feat. You are amazing, Jenn.

What a great and thorough report.

I am glad you are starting to feel better after strep...that really sucks that you got sick :(

Amanda@runninghood said...

Okay, I'm part way through and I have to dash again (super hero mode today...can you see my cape yet? ha ha). Just read the part about hiding out in the port o potty and checking blogs...was this when you commented on my blog before your race? ha ha. I woke up and saw your comment and thought..."isn't she supposed to be at a race?" Love it!! Adapt and Problem Solve..great words AM! And problem solve you did.
I also love how you put it out there: "I'm not the type to overestimate my abilities and I almost ALWAYS reach goals I set for myself. " One of the things I love the most about you. And when you said that you have a system and it works for that you have something that just works for Jenn. Okay, I'll be back again. Might not comment...don't want to overload this post with Amanda comments. Might e-mail instead. :)

Unknown said...

Jenn, this is just packed with insight and is such an honest reflection of who you much you care about the ART of racing.

There is SO much I can identify with in here.
You are no shirker.

Tough training, smart pacing, mistakes/unfortunate circumstances, but STILL you earned an AWE-INSPIRING finish time and a VALUABLE race for learning.

These things don't define us, they motivate us.
Rest, process, regroup... and on to the next goal. I know you can beat that *secret* goal.

Running and living said...

So glad you wrote this even though I know it was not fun.

No pacing errors. Solid training. Strong body and mind. No doubt about any of these.

Here are some hypotheses:
1. Perhaps the strep was part of the problem? You could have had it during the race, and that affected you at mile 20?
2. You have been sick, so your body has had other priorities rather than heal your muscles, hence the DOMS post race.
3. I know that when I stop in a race, I am fried. I need to work on this big time, but once I stop it is so hard to run again and it is plan discouraging. I wonder if this also made the last miles hard? Knowing you won't get your A goal?
4. Stomach issues, vomiting, lack of fuel - they had to have affected how your muscles felt and recovered post race.

I honestly can say that I have NO DOUBT that you will go way sub 3:15 next time. You are basically trained for a 3:15, you will see how much faster and stronger you will get this training cycle. You will just kill that second part of the marathon and finish with a sub 7 mile. My prediction!

Suzy said...

Congratulations! Like the others said, you don't know how your body will respond on any given day. Be proud of your time. Thanks for sharing about the course...Grandma's is on my list given that I grew up a couple hours away from it.

Jill said...

I am going to be a big loser her and say that I read the first paragraph and am dead tired and going to have to come back and read when I can REALLY read it (I've been in Boulder all day at a blogger health and fitness conference...)....

But I wanted to let you know that I was here and I will be back and THANK you for the nicest comment on my blog post about my stupid freaking heel. Was awesome, seriously thank you!! :)

Runnin' Momma said...

Awesome! This is totally amazing! I thought of you multiple times on Saturday, especially when i was complaining about how "hot and humid" it was for my 5k on saturday morning! I thought I should not be were running a marathon in this! I think you really did an amazing job though, your training was great...and who know why the stomach issues. i will say, I cannot ever drink the power drinks-they always give me a stomachache!

Great Work! ~Katie

Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl said...

Even though you didn't get your A goal here, I am still impressed with your abilities. You are speedy nontheless, and I think that you are a rock star runner. On to Boston 2012.

Side note, you take 5 gus in a marathon???

Lindsay said...

you did get sick after the race -- maybe your body was starting to be sick on race day, and that's why you were falling apart? just a thought, of course.

lots of guts out there. some literally :) congrats on your race, even if you may not think you deserve it. it's tough to stick it out - i've had my share of pissy stomach in marathons! it is hard to press on when you can't drink anything!

hmm you and AM both having visits from aunt flo at the same time... you must spend too much time chatting online that your ovaries are cycling together.

Nicole W. said...

wow...didn't know about the puking. you poor poor girl. that is amazing you can run a 3:20 feeling that way. I totally think it was the you lost those gu's at the beginning but you did your VERY best to adapt and try to do what you thought would work. you are amazing and extremely inspiring Jen. can't wait to see you run at Boston..get the feeling I will be chasing you the entire way;)

Nicole W. said...

p.s I remembered something while reading your post...Joel (my coach) told me once to always alternate water with whatever sports drink they give out...never give up the water.
p.s I want to know more about how you would have fuelled with the 5 gu too?

kristen said...

I'm no doctor, but the fact you came down with strep throat and an extremely high fever just hours after this race might have played into your hand of which you "folded".

Your training is totally there. I am 1000% positive that you are capable of sub 3:15. Obviously you wont forget about this disaster of a race, but you can feel good about putting forth a SOLID 3:20 with the deck stacked against you. (what's with all the card playing references?)

Move forward knowing you still have 3:14:59 in you!

I'm totally picturing you hanging out in the crapper.

Keri said...

I got strep and a really high fever right before Boston...I struggle with this every time I train for a marathon! Congratulations on an amazing race, especially under such conditions!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

You are my hero Jenn! Pushing through undesirable race conditions and feeling like "SHIT" and still running a 3:20?!?!?!?! AMAZING. Where is your cape girl!

I feel like you are super hard core now--vomit and a 3:20?! in AWE!

Be proud of your training and mental toughness!! And, what a blessing to stay at a stranger's house near the shuttle!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Glad you posted this again even it was unintentional. I haven't gotten my sorry arse back here to finish reading it and now that I'm sicker than a dog on the couch, I've slowed down enough to really just sit and read! read every single word and really felt like I was there in the race. Too. Dang that end sounds brutal Jenn!! Don't know how you kept're so strong. ugggh. I'm kind of thinking that I don't ever want to run a marathon again anytime soon...maybe it is the sickness talking but my body feels like it doesn't have another in me any time soon...hoping for a change in feeling soon. Again, glad you posted something again. Even if it was meant to be another post. xo

LindseyAnn said...

AWESOME! I was watching at our store (along the course just as you turned on to Superior), and I wondered if you were running! You are awesome, and I'm happy it went well for you!